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‘First Kill’ Review: A High-Stakes Teenage Lesbian Vampire Romance

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First Kill (★★★☆☆) is very good when it’s good, and downright terrible when it’s bad.Sometimes it’s so bad, it’s good, but this “teenage lesbian vampire falls for fearless vampire hunter” romance is far from boring.Based on a short story by queer YA and fantasy author V.E.

Schwab, First Kill blends a little Buffy, Supernatural, and Charmed with Romeo & Juliet, and a side of Heathers. But it commits admirably to its own dark mythology and wicked sense of humor in weaving the possibly tragic tale of Calliope (Imani Lewis) and Juliette (Sarah Catherine Hook).The pair’s love-at-first-sight ardor is electric yet innocent, abetted by the connection between Lewis and Hook, who can make Calliope and Juliette seem like the only two people in a crowded room.Usually those rooms are pretty crowded, too — between Juliette’s family, the Fairmonts, part of the Savannah, Georgia elite, though secretly vampires, and Calliope’s folks, the Burns family, part of a long line of trained monster hunters.While the dueling deadly family dynamic is good grist for soapy drama, the accompanying supernatural horror ranges from the gnarly to the absurd.The R-rated gore of vampires feeding, and, say, a super-fast zombie ripping out someone’s spine, is played against the dry humor of a sleepy Southern town being overrun with banshees, demons, and bloodsuckers.

The moment one of the principal characters casually devours a relative whole delivers both a jolt and a laugh.Not all the laughs are intentional, though, with some truly groan-worthy dialogue, and a few rough performances to match the awkwardly choreographed fight scenes and consistently cheesy lighting.Schwab and company bring interesting wrinkles to their vampire mythology — Juliette’s clan are.

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